New Treatment Could Help Unborn Babies with Down Syndrome

Joseph McCoy | WORLD News Service | Monday, February 8, 2016

New Treatment Could Help Unborn Babies with Down Syndrome

Within a decade, parents may be able to find treatment for their unborn children with Down syndrome. NBC reports that Carol Tamminga and colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (UTSW) plan to start in March a study in which unborn children with Down syndrome will receive Prozac, an anti-depressant, beginning as early as 18 weeks gestation, until they are 2 years old. Studies show mice that would have been born with cognitive impairment functioned normally when given Prozac. Those effects continued into adulthood.

While many children have been safely exposed to antidepressants in the womb, such exposure is not without risk. Investigators have reported in JAMA Pediatrics an 87 percent increased risk of developing autism in children exposed to antidepressants like Prozac. The new study will attempt to calculate the success rate, effectiveness, and risk of using Prozac in preborn children.

Tamminga’s told NBC her team considers and discusses with participants the potential downsides, so they can weigh the risks and benefits.

“So, what if this medication had an effect that really helped the child move from an IQ of 60 to an IQ of 90? I mean, that would be a miracle from our point of view,” she said.

For those in the pro-life community, the real miracle will be if such treatments lead to sparing the lives of unborn children with Down syndrome.

Paul Watson, motivated by his 14-year-old son Nathan, who has Down syndrome, spearheaded efforts to raise more than $85,000 for the three-year trial that begins next month. UTSW has matched the fundraising goal of $75,000.

Courtesy: WORLD News Service

Publication date: February 8, 2016